tv Politics Nation MSNBC September 5, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
thanks, chris. and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, democrats ready for the fight. day two of the democratic national convention is underway in charlotte, north carolina. the crowd is fired up and the speakers are ready to go. this afternoon president obama arrived in charlotte right in time for a star studded night. the marquee speaker tonight, former president bill clinton. the crowd will also hear from elizabeth warren running for the senate in massachusetts. the speakers have been passionate at this convention. throwing punch after punch at republicans and aggressively affirming the strength of the president's record. and it's been great to see. they talked about the auto bailout. >> the american auto industry is not just surviving. it's thriving.
where mitt romney was willing to turn his back on akron, dayton, and toledo, ohio, the president said i've got your back. >> the president's record on women's issues. >> being a mother is no longer a liability. and being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. now, that's what change looks like. >> and we've heard the most sustained defense of the obama health care law and what it means to this country. >> this is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single american in every corner of this country after 90 years of trying. >> last night the first lady electrified the crowd reminding voters that president obama is on their side. >> he knows what it means to
want something more for your kids and grand kids. barack knows the american dream because he's lived it. that's the man i see in those quiet moments late at night. hunched over his desk, pouring over the letters people have sent him. i see the concern in his eyes and i hear the determination in his voice as he tells me you won't believe what these folks are going through, michelle, it's not right. we've got to keep working to fix this. we've got so much more to do. >> by just one measure, social media, that speech struck a cord. 28,000 mentions on twitter every minute. by contrast, mitt romney's speech last week got about half as many mentions during his speech. 14,000. and that brings us to tonight.
and the president bill clinton. tonight he'll make me case for why president obama's policies are working and why mitt romney's won't. >> and his plan, his plan, is to go back to the bush program. except on steroids. i happen to think this auto industry package is the most important thing that was initiated by president obama in the administration. every time i hear mr. romney talk about this, i think his daddy must be turning over in his grave. >> this convention is proving that democrats are fired up and ready to go and eager to go forward, not backwards. joining me now is michelle cottle, responsibility for news week, daily beast. and steve kornacki. cohost of "the cycle" here on
msnbc. michelle, what does president clinton need to do tonight on night two in his speech? >> well, bill clinton has become the rock star of the party once more. he's rehabilitated whatever with issues he had. he's got to get out there and tell people that barack obama can take us back to the time when like during the clinton years we were all richer and happier and safer. i mean, he's got to make the claim against what the republicans are saying which is tla barack obama is nothing like clinton. clinton is the obvious person to combat that message. >> now, steve, we sometimes go by slang names with former president clinton. you know, bubba, elvis, but we forget the substantive differences between clinton and bush. and i think that that is what is going to be at the heart of tonight. where with clinton and bush on
taxes and jobs. clinton the tax rate on the rich was 39.6, private sector jobs he created 20 million. under president bush the tax rate on the rich was 35%, private sector job loss was 663,000. compares all the rock star stuff, there's a substantive debate that former president clinton can present unlike anyone else. >> yeah. i think for two reasons clinton really is the ideal sort of advocate for barack obama right now. one is as michelle was just saying look at his popularity right now. part of that is a product of how the republicans have treated bill and hillary clinton for the past few years. where they treated them for villains for 15 years. and started in 2008 saying he was the good democrat and now barack obama is the bad one. and bill says the policies he wants to implement on tax rates for rich, that's what clinton
enacted in 1993. he can say i did that. every single republican in the house, every republican in the senate in 1993 said exactly what every single republican today is saying. and look what happened in the 1990s. look how the deficits came down. didn't harm the economy to have those higher tax rates. that's all barack obama wants to go back to now. and the other reason is simply there's a contrast here between what happened under bill clinton and under george w. bush. it's hard for barack obama to be explicit about saying that. when he invokes bush, it's easy for the republicans to say he's blaming the predecessor. that doesn't apply to clinton. >> michelle, he can talk about the tax rate and his creating 20 million jobs and the tax rate with bush being much lower, losing 663,000. doesn't that speak to a core group white male voters that president obama is being outflanked by in a large measure
by mr. romney probably the area that he's having the most difficulty with. doesn't bill clinton and the jobs program on those jobs numbers directly address that audience? >> bill clinton had his own breed of clinton democrat. that is what republicans talk about obama having trouble with. so what you want to do, nobody feels your pain to this day better than bill clinton. you send him out there, you have him talk to those people from the heart and say we're going to get back to that place where you had security and you felt good about your future. so yes, i think he is the perfect person to go back and get what we like to call the clinton democrats. >> steve, when you look at those that are arguing about the deficit and budgets, when president clinton left office he left with a $236 billion surplus. when bush left office we had a
$1.2 tllion deficit. how a spokesman for romney said he would be bushlike, just more of it. how do you argue against the man that handed the keys to bush and had the $236 billion surplus when he did it. >> honestly, they have never grappled with this. they have never grappled with what they said in the early 1990s when bill clinton proposed the rates for the top 1.5% of income. you can ask every top republican at the time that said this is going to plunge us into a second recession. this is going to kill millions of jobs. and none of that happened. i've never seen a republican grapple with that. and the result is they truly are when it comes to taxes saying the same thing now that they said in 1993 and they're
basically -- basically saying nice things about bill clinton now and hope people have forgotten. >> michelle, last night was electric with the first lady and you had on women speakers, african-americans, latinos, mayor castro doing a great job as a keynoter. what do they have to do tonight? i noticed that in the republican national convention, they really had a problem mentioning mitt romney's name. and you didn't see that at all last night. they absolutely kept bringing and shouting out president obama and the dnc. speakers mentioned the rnc over four nights romney's name 213 times. in one night, they mentioned president obama's name 250 times. they've already done in one night what they didn't do for the whole convention of the republican party about their nominee. what do they have to do tonight, michelle? >> look, tonight they just have to keep drawing that distinction. they need to drive home that
message that this is about a choice. and clinton needs to make clear what he thinks is the right choice to take us forward. all of the speakers that vis. every challenger wants to be a referendum on the incumbent. the wha the democrats are laboring to do is this is not barack obama or none of the above. this is a clear choice with different ideas about where we need to go. >> now, the president will speak tomorrow night, steve, and after first lady's electrifying speech and tonight with bill clinton, he's got his job cut out for him. we're told he's going to be specific on the jobs plan thursday. does he have to give a burner or does he need to give a mixture with specifics? >> i think if there's one criticism here out of last night that republicans tried to latch on to, they acknowledged there was a lot of emotional power to
the speeches last night but there weren't specific mentions of jobs. no prescriptions on jobs. i think in the end that's what romney is trying to sell. you know, you may be impressed with the delivery and the style, but take a look at the economy and what are they telling you they're going to do about it? yeah, i think they have to have more specifics in there. whether it's in biden's speech or obama's speech, the idea obama has put out the american jobs act last year. and there was absolutely no action on that, but it was certainly a plan. clinton talks about let's stick with his plan. i think that's part of it. >> imagine that, mr. romney wants specifics when he's been specifically unspecific. michelle cottle and steve kornacki, thank you for your time tonight. >> you're welcome. >> and catch steve on "the cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. last week republicans didn't really want to talk about mitt romney. but so far democrats have no
such problem. >> mitt romney talks a lot about all the things he's fixed. i can tell you massachusetts was not one of them. >> if mitt was santa claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves. and tonight there will be a fresh new focus on his record at bain capital. plus big news today for the obama campaign. taking a firm stance for voting rights in a key battle ground state. and we'll talk to the woman who has single handedly stood up to extremism in north carolina. the host of this great convention, governor bev perdue. you're watching a special edition of "politicsnation" here on msnbc.
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this convention has been all about showcasing what democrats stand for. it's a party that fights for which rights. fights for voting rights. fights for economic fairness. north carolina's governor bev perdue knows a little something about standing up for these values. as head of this key battle ground state, she's fought relentless extremism from her republican state legislature. she vetoed a record 19 bills to protect the people in her state. she vetoed new abortion restrictions. she vetoed two strict voter i.d. bills. she vetoed two budgets that slashed education funding and defunded planned parenthood. standing up for democratic beliefs and standing against right wing extremism. that's what this convention and this party's all about.
joining me now is north carolina governor bev perdue who spoke to the ruckus crowd last night. thank you for being here. >> i'm delighted. but i'm going to fight with you. you're body's not in north carolina. we're having a great party and want you here all three days. >> i'll be there in the morning. don't worry. is the enthusiasm you're seeing at the convention enough to win this election? >> it's absolutely remarkable. i've never seen it. i talked to delegates all day this morning. they say they were enthused before they came out but now they've got it in their blood again. they'll take it all over and we're going to win in november. >> early voting begins tomorrow in north carolina. >> it does. >> yesterday the elections board in your state opted to give members in your county for those
to end early. >> there were those who tried to do away with early voting or tried to compress it so we couldn't get people out to vote. in america i think we ought to work on getting more people to vote. make it easier not just on tuesday. so the general assembly when i was in control of the democrats we did that. and the republicans have pushed hard to rescind some of those rules. some of the counties i believe were influenced by the discussion in raleigh and they backed away from a comprehensive voting program. a lot of people rose up and demanded for the board of elections to stand up yesterday and to allow us to go ahead and vote very often in every county to make it easier for americans to exercise their most constitutional right. we do start going to the polls tomorrow. it's mighty exciting. >> now, it's very important what you've done in terms of fighting these voter suppression moves
and restrictive moves. because president obama in 2008 only won by a meager 14,000 votes this state of north carolina. any kind of impediment could really turn that around and mitt romney needs to win this state -- it's a must-win state for him. and he's pouring money in. his campaign and super pacs have spent over $34 million in the state of north carolina compared to $22 million from president obama and his supporters. it's about winning fairly when you have margins that close to interfere with the right of anyone to vote is just not playing fairly. >> well, al, we believe we would have lost the ability to get a million and a quarter of our voters out to vote had they suppressed us with a voter i.d. a lot of our folks in our state are older. they're in nursing homes or
facilities. we have a lot of military here in and out throughout the state. we have a lot of folks in the state legally who don't have a formal i.d. it's the wrong thing to do in america. it sends the wrong message. north carolina worked aggressive this session to keep the voter i.d. bill tabled. we were afraid we'd see the baby rez rukt itself. i think it's a major win for the president. it's a major win for the democratic candidate for governor. >> a key part of your speech last night was on education. when we look at what the republicans are saying, the ryan plan would cut grants and head start. all the while they're increasing defense spending and giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. >> it's the first time i've ever known of a state like mine to increase tuition rates. but to decrease tuition
assistance to poor people. i think that's right out of the washington playbook right out of the romney/ryan playbook. we have to understand that education is the equalizer for all of us. and there seems to be an antagonism towards public employees, teachers, public school in general by romney and ryan. i've not heard one word -- the first time in my life in a presidential campaign that in october almost we have yet to hear the first word about education from that party. the president understands. >> governor bev perdue, thank you for your time this evening. >> we invite you down again. look forward to seeing you tomorrow. great to talk to you. bye-b bye-bye. >> great to talk to you. straight ahead, we'll look at what led to bill clinton's historic speech at the convention tonight. but first, mitt romney's got a major problem with minority
among african-americans at 0%. that's not a typo. that's goose eggs. so what do you do when you've hit rock bottom? well, if you're team romney, you outreach for the stars. today the romney campaign announced its black outreach council. outreach. that'll fix 0%. on mr. romney's website their mission statement says they want to quote, help facilitate dialogue between mitt romney and respected leaders on issues impacting black american communities. dialogue is great. i love dialogue. it helps break down barriers and mend fences. let's meet the team. allen west and tim scott. two who were swept in during the tea party wave of 2010. how would allen west facilitate dialogue? >> we're creating this sense of
economic dependence which is a modern day slavery. >> that's quite a dialogue. what else have you got congressman west? >> i'm here as the modern day hearriett tubman to lead people from the plantation. >> that'll win over black voters for sure. then there's congressman scott. the first bill he sponsored was to get rid of the president's health care law. he also refused to join the black caucus. how will he reach out to the african-american community? >> let me close by giving president obama a heart felt message from the good people of south carolina. hit the road, jack. and don't you come back no more, no more, no more. >> hit the road, jack? really?
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with a republican congress sitting shot gun, mitt romney will put the middle class on the roof and take us for a long painful ride. >> we're back on "politicsnation" as democrats continue to make their case for president obama's re-election. that's the goal of this convention. a solid affirmation of the record. but democrats have a second goal too. and that's to clearly define who mitt romney really is. they started doing it last night by launching a full assault on romney's record. >> mitt romney talks a lot about all the things he's fixed. i can tell you massachusetts was not one of them.
>> mitt romney never saw the point of building something when he could profit but tearing it down. if mitt was santa claus, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves. >> and they pulled no punches going after romney for his secretive overseas investments. >> mitt has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. it summers on the beaches of the cayman islands and winters on the slopes of the swiss alps. >> swiss bank accounts never built an american bridge. swiss bank accounts never put cops on the streets or teachers in our classrooms. swiss bank accounts never created american jobs.
>> and democrats made it clear what romney's policies would mean to america. >> the romney/ryan budget doesn't just cut public education, cut medicare, cut transportation, and cut job training. it doesn't just pummel the middle class, it dismantles it. >> mitt romney and paul ryan now say they want to take america back. and we have to ask back to what? back to the failed policies that drove us into this deep recession? >> last week republicans were reluctant to talk too much about their nominee. democrats are more than happy to pick up that slack. joining me now in charlotte is joe madison, nationally syndicated radio host of "mornings with madison." and crystal ball, cohost of "the cycle" here on msnbc. thank you both for being here tonight.
>> thank you. >> thanks, reverend. >> joe, do democrats have an opportunity to define mitt romney this week? >> i think they've already started yesterday. i think michelle obama defined mitt romney's -- what the policies will mean. look. i think it's one thing to say i feel your pain. it's another thing to say i've had your pain. yesterday they made it very clear, look what former governor of ohio strickland side about the closing of the plants if mitt romney had been elected. i'm from dayton, ohio. i know what those auto plants meant. even though they didn't make automobiles in dayton, they supplied parts. they supplied radios. they supplied electronics. it wasn't just general motors and chrysler. even ford that didn't take money said we would have probably had to go out of business because we would not have been able to hang in with the suppliers. there wouldn't have been
suppliers. i think they made it very clear. and the reason african-americans are not feeling mitt romney is because jobs are extremely important to us. right now in detroit, another town i've lived in 20 years, people are back to work because of barack obama saved the auto industry. not the level they'd like to, but in the right direction. >> two of tonight's featured speakers are former bain capital employees randy johnson and s cindy ewing. they've both appeared on this show to talk about the record. watch this. >> to me it's simple. it's profits before people. i don't think he's in touch for the reality of what it means to be on the shop floor. he's never been a manager on a shop floor. he's never done anything but produced profits for the rich.
>> i really, really find his claims he created jobs to be offensive. because the jobs he created were entry-level service and retail positions. they were not jobs that gave people a living wage where they could support their families, send their kids to school. the jobs he eliminated in our plant absolutely were. >> these are two of the speakers tonight. do you expect a harsh attack on bain tonight? >> i certainly think they will continue to talk about what is private equity. mitt romney was not a job creator. that was not his job at bain capital. his job was to maximize profit for himself and their shareholders. not to create jobs in any respect. a lot of times that meant loading the company up with debt, sending the jobs overseas. i think the american people whether see more of that tonight. and i would also say mitt romney
has been unwilling to talk about his time at bain, his time as governor of massachusetts. what he plans to do in the future. certainly doesn't want to talk about his own financial situation. when he leaves all of those pieces of the puzzle completely blank, the democrats are going to fill those in for the american people. even the wall street journal after the republican convention last week was critical of mitt romney for that very reason. saying since you didn't lay out your policy agenda, the democrats will be happy to talk about it and define it and frame it in the way they want to. which is the truthful way of how detrimental it would be to the middle class. >> now, joe, the polling shows these bain attacks have worked. especially with voters in key swing states when they were asked how romney's business record effects their opinion of him. 18% of swing state voters say it gives them a more positive opinion of romney. but 33% say they have a more negative opinion based on his
business record. these attacks hurt and they're not going to be helpful tonight with bain employees speaking from that platform. >> of course they're not going to be helpful. look, if you're going to be president of the united states and you're going to sit here and invest your money overseas and not invest it in the united states, what kind of leader or you? you take care of the people who elect you. you take care of the people who have faith in you. there is nothing about bain that we really ought to be applauding. look, yes. sports authority and a few jobs and it was just said most of these jobs didn't even -- the wages didn't even keep up with inflation in this country. elderly people also understand too. when these countries we want bankrupt, in order for him to make money, in order for bain to make money, a lot of people's pensions went down the drain and
their health care went with it. people understand takeover. people understand corporate sharks. people understand something that was said in that movie wall street. for a lack of a better word, greed is good, and romney has been greedy. who in their right mind runs a campaign on labor day and invites the press to show you getting on a yacht? >> and sailing. but let me go back to you quickly, crystal. harry reid said we don't know who mitt romney is. >> and he's been so unwilling to volunteer anything about himself, his record, his secret plans for the country. and i would say at a fundamental level we heard a lot about the american dream last night. and the first lady and president obama are the personification of the american dream, the people who worked hard and pulled themselves up, with some help mind you. that are willing to talk about
that. mitt romney and ann romney in a lot of way personify what we are afraid of what we've become. the rich and powerful becoming more rich and powerful. i think that's the core of all these messages we're seeing. >> joe madison and crystal ball thanks for your time tonight. >> thanks. >> and don't forget to catch crystal on "the cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. coming up, the clinton factor. the two presidents unite for a common purpose. defeating mitt romney. and also democrats are now trying to force an ohio republican to follow the law. that's ahead. all energy development comes with some risk, but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint
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kind of future that our children and grandchildren deserve. >> the obama campaign is also airing this tv ad featuring the former president. >> this is a clear choice. the republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper income people and go back to deregulation. that's what got us in trouble in the first place. president obama has a plan to rebuild from the ground up. >> republicans have enough problems dealing with one democratic president. now they'll have two. joining me live now from charlotte is ana marie cox, washington correspondent for "the guardian." and dana milbank columnist for "the washington post." thank you both for being here. >> hi. >> good to be here. >> dana let me start with you. what does this president bring to this campaign? >> he was invited here by mitt romney and paul ryan saying this guy is the greatest thing since
sliced bread. he was a moderate guy that kept taxes low. well, that's a perfect setup for him to walk up in here. say yeah if you want more of that, give us more of president obama. they're not going to be able to drive a wedge between these two guys the way they did the last time around. circumstances are very different now. he's the best advocate president obama could have at this point. >> when you look at his polling, he's very high in favorable ratings. 93% of democrats, 68% of independents, 63% of whites. even 43% of repubcans have a favorable view. so he brings a lot of political capital to that stage tonight. >> question, he does. although i think it's important to remember that bill clinton is a brilliant campaigner always for bill clinton. i mean, this is i think a little bit more about his legacy than about barack obama. i think that has explained what
you have referred to as a complicated relationship. clinton can't let obama fail. i mean, if obama loses, bill clinton would see that as a stain on his own record. and doesn't set things up that well for hillary. the best thing ffr the clintons is for obama to win and have a successful term. and as far as his positive ratings, i think it's important az best use for the democrats is democrats can run a country and things will be good if they do. >> dana, maureen dowd in the new york times, she wrote on bill clinton and his help on president obama. quote, he needs -- talking about president obama -- he needs clinton to rev up the disillusioned faithful and donors and lure independents and white working class men. obama needs his democratic predecessor to reassure jittery
voters that the future can look like the past. with a lower deficit, plenty of jobs, and two parties actually talking. >> uh-huh. >> yet there's been tension between the two is ana marie right about them needing each other? bill clinton possibly setting his wife up and president obama needing him to get some of the jittery voters that maureen dowd referred to in "the new york times" this morning? >> of course from bill clinton's perspective, it's always about bill clinton. i think that goes without saying. in this case, their priorities are perfectly aligned here. they both -- each one needs the other as much and a victory for obama works in both of their interests. that's why this whole idea of drying -- trying to drive a wedge between the two of them by republicans backfirefires on the
welfare argument and taxes argument and economy argument. i think they've basically just heated up. will clinton outshine obama? of course. he's a super nova. he'll outshine him tonight. but the glow is going to benefit obama on election day. >> there's all this talk they don't like each other they don't get along. isn't politics about self-interest and what you want to do in terms of making your mark on history? >> well, yes. i think dana put it well. politics is about finding where your self-interests overlap. the vin diagram. the romney campaign isn't certain how that works. in this case it's almost a perfect circle from what obama wants and clinton wants. it's a perfect opportunity for both of them. i think it's not so much they don't get along with each other, it's they have dramatically different styles. that explains a lot. i don't think they pend a lot of time thinking about whether they like each other.
>> let me have bill clinton speak for himself. he spoke with brian williams and talked about very candidly the relationship between president obama and him. listen to this. >> how would you describe your relationship with president obama? >> i think it's quite good, actually. it's candid. it's open. we haven't been close friends for a long time or anything like that, but he knows i support him. i feel -- you know, i keep reading all this stuff about the enthusiasm gap and all that. i get that. the real work is hard. it's harder to do than to talk. but i'm more enthusiastic about him than i was four years ago when i said i thought he was ready to be president. because i've seen him dig in the dirt and fight for change. i've seen him make things happen. i've seen him criticized,
demonized, knocked down. i've seen him deal with things for the first time he never dealt with before. learn and keep coming. so i respect him, i think he should be re-elected. and i'm very grateful also just as a person for the way he and hillary have interacted. he's treated her with enormous respect. >> he mentions hillary. he says they haven't been close friends for long. not exactly warm and fuzzy. if i had musical accompaniment i'd sing "what's love got to do with it" by janet jackson. >> i think that's right. and saying he likes him more now than four years ago is not exactly a high bar. they're not golfing buddies. they went golfing and didn't injure each other with their clubs. but they don't have to like each other. clinton has something that
compensates for obama's weaknesses. that is he's able to create a coherent message. he may make a better narrative for obama's policies than obama himself has been able to do. >> ana marie, do you think at the end of the day that bill clinton tonight could give a huge push to president obama that cannot be countered by the republicans because they tried in so many ways to inject his name as quote, the good democrat? >> i think that's a real problem for the republicans that they did invoke clinton so much. and the republican party does not have anyone like clinton. there used to be a time when they would say that was a good thing. they can't say that now. and his star power is basically unequalled right now in terms of former presidents definitely. and i would say he's only match is maybe president obama and
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and we're seeing it in all swing states that mitt romney must win to beat president obama. funny, isn't it? actually, not funny at all. today in ohio the obama campaign had to go to court to try to force the ohio republicans to comply with a judge's ruling restoring early voting in that state. this comes after ohio's republican secretary of state john husted says he would defy the judge's ruling. he is prohibiting local officials from setting up more early voting. which the judge said they should do. it's amazing. but it's just the latest move he's taken to suppress the vote. last week he fired to board members. here's what they told me about
why they were willing to lose their jobs for voting rights. >> it's as i explained to my children. i can get another job, but i can't get another conscience. and the right thing to do here is to have early voting. >> in 2008 we had 28,732 people participate in early vote here in montgomery county. all we were attempting to do was give the voters the right to vote. >> meantime in north carolina, the board of elections voted this week to expand early voting in seven different counties. the three democrats voted to expand hours and surprise, surprise. the two republicans voted to restrict them. in florida and georgia they've already cut down early voting hours. we have to work every day from here on out to make sure that every citizen that wants to vote gets the chance to exercise that right. this is no joke. no matter who wins and